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06-04-2020 | Original Paper | Issue 3/2021

Journal of Business Ethics 3/2021

How Lack of Integrity and Tyrannical Leadership of Managers Influence Employee Improvement-Oriented Behaviors

Journal:
Journal of Business Ethics > Issue 3/2021
Authors:
Jean-Sébastien Boudrias, Vincent Rousseau, Denis Lajoie
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Abstract

This study investigates how lack of perceived organizational integrity (POI) by managers negatively affects bottom-up improvement-oriented behaviors at lower hierarchical levels (supervisors, employees). It is expected that expressions of tyrannical leadership by the manager, a self-serving type of leadership, will mediate the relation between POI and job improvement behaviors. Further, this study investigates the role of mimicry of manager behaviors (e.g., supervisor tyrannical leadership) and of other supervisor’s responses (e.g., intent to quit, improvement-oriented behaviors) to understand how manager tyrannical leadership effect is carried through to the lowest level. Our initial postulate is that non-mimicry provides complex social cues for employees. Following social information processing theory, we expect that incoherent cues increase the salience and negative effects of managers’ tyrannical leadership on job improvement. A three-level study was conducted following a questionnaire survey in a large public safety organization. Participants included 34 managers (level 3), 129 supervisors (level 2), and 620 employees (level 1). Results of multilevel analyses revealed that lack of perceived integrity and tyrannical leadership at the managerial level have far-reaching effects on job improvement at the lowest level. Further, it indicates that the supervisors’ responses at the intermediate level are important mechanisms to understand how the negative effects from the managerial level are transmitted to the employee level.

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